Increase Dining In
Lately I have been making a conscious effort to eat out less. I love the money that I save, the healthier choices, and meat-less dishes. I really want to treat dining out as a treat rather than routine habit.
I compiled tips to increase your chances of dining in.
1. Keep a clean kitchen. No one likes to clean a kitchen before even starting to cook. You will have all necessary utensils, pots, and pans cleaned for use.
2. Have the appropriate utensils and kitchen appliances available. I feel that I can be frugal at times, but I know when I need to buy a kitchen item. I bought a food processor last summer that I didn’t think I would value as much as I actually do. The appliances and utensils quickly pay for themselves with decrease dining out frequency. You will enjoy cooking more if you have the appropriate tools, too.
3. Meal plan and create a menu. You know that converstaion that turns into an arguement-”What do you want to have for dinner? I don’t care, whatever you want to have for dinner. Well, I really don’t care.” That goes round and round until someone is ticked off enough to call it off and go out for dinner. Having a menu set in place for the week gives you options that you can choose from. There’s no effort to trying to figure out what to have for dinner during your last 20 minutes of work. Also, with a meal plan you know what needs to be pulled out of the freezer ahead of time rather than once you get home from work.
4. Stock your kitchen. Use your meal plan to make your grocery list. Also, keep pantry staples on hand. These will come in handy when you least expect it.
5. Have quick dinner options. This may entail quick prep dinners or extras that you froze last month. Soups especially freeze and defrost well. Consider making a larger batch of a meal one night per week that you can freeze for an emergency situation.
6. Kitchen storage. Have good storage options on hand. I love pyrex glass containers. They heat well in the microwave at work and I can easily see what is in the container, and best of all, they don’t stain!
7. Organize your kitchen. Organize your container cabinet so you can find the lid to the container. Organized cabinets won’t hind extra food items that you may buy again at the grocery store. This will save you time and money.
8. Try new recipes. Can’t think of new things for dinner? Buy a new cook book or google for new recipes. Being bored with your usual dinners may lead you to dining out. Prepare more intricate recipes on the weekends to work out the kinks.
9. Set out the dry ingredients the night before or morning of dinner. Just eliminating the ingredient search will make cooking dinner an easier task. This will also tell you if you need to pick up an ingredient on your way home from work.
10. Share the cooking. Either cook with your significant other or roommate or swap nights. I have been cooking dinner more often since the boyfriend works till 6 pm, but on nights that he doesn’t work he’ll try to cook dinner. Knowing I won’t be the only one cooking makes it bearable on the nights I’d prefer to not be cooking.
What are some of your tips?